Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)

A commitment to the pursuit of advanced medical and scientific knowledge at the highest level of quality, integrity, and cultural relevance.

A commitment to creating and maintaining a diverse environment that fosters the growth and training of our scientific community. This includes fostering an environment of diversity, anti-racism and anti-sexism, and LGBTQ+ support at ALL levels within the Department of Pharmacology. 

A commitment to open and honest discussion in the face of social, political and societal change as we strive to improve equity and justice, particularly for black communities and other under-represented groups. 

A commitment to the individual right for all department members, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or cultural background, to feel physically and emotionally safe in their workplace, and their empowerment to speak out against incivility, racism, sexism, unethical conduct and abuse of power.

Eligibility: Students, Postdoctoral Fellows, Faculty and Staff 

Maximum Award: $750 (4 awarded per year) 

Application Deadlines: August 1, November 1, February 1, and May 1 

Purpose: Students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty are often interested in doing DE&I work in the Department of Pharmacology, but such work is largely voluntary and is often unfunded. For this reason, we have implemented this DE&I mini-grant program to promote DE&I programming in the department. Grants could be used to support on-going initiatives that need additional funding, to have one-time DE&I related events, or to start a new longer-term initiative. 

Application instructions: Maximum one page single spaced of narrative describing the purpose and organization of the proposed activity. A separate page with a proposed budget for the use of the funds. The goal is to make this process as painless as possible for reasonable initiatives. If you have questions about preparation of the proposal please contact Alan Smrcka or other members of the pharmacology DE&I committee. Send the final proposals by the application deadline to Alan Smrcka (avsmrcka@umich.edu). 

Application Review: Applications will be reviewed by the Pharmacology DE&I committee.

Current & Upcoming Departmental DE&I Events

  • January 31: DEI Movie Lunch!  12pm-1pm in THSL 5000

    Master of None - Season 1, Episode 2 - Parents - 2015Master of None was one of the first shows centering Asian characters released for streaming in the US. It follows a first generation Indian-American and his group of friends. The episode Parents is about two first generation Asian Americans trying to relate to their immigrant parents by  taking them out to dinner as a sign of appreciation. Discussion may include talking about being Asian in America, relating to parents who grew up in a different time or place than you did, representation in mainstream media, and Aziz Ansari/appreciating the value of the art, but not the artist.

  • More events to be announced for the coming year

What Are We Working On

  • Establishing DEI Book Club
  • Organizing DEI Movie Lunches
  • Developing Content for DEI short course.

How Are We Doing?

We encourage feedback and ideas on how the Pharmacology Department is doing in terms of its DE&I efforts, please complete Pharmacology Department DE&I Feedback Form.  

Any information you share is confidential and you won’t be penalized for speaking up.  Any responses will be shared with the DE&I Committee and department leadership.

Learn More

DE&I Committee

The primary role of the DE&I Committee is to help gather and disseminate information as well as to advise the Chair on strategies, policies, and activities to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Department. The goals of the Committee are to promote diversity at the trainee, staff, and faculty levels and to ensure that all members of the Department feel welcomed as essential participants in our overall academic and research missions. To achieve these goals, the DE&I Committee will liaise with members of the Department to identify broad issues that need to be addressed, and develop resources and approaches to resolve the issues that are identified. The Committee will communicate the issues and approaches to the Chair, along with suggestions on how to implement them. The Committee will meet monthly to discuss ongoing efforts, evaluate progress, and set future goals as the Department environment evolves. The minutes of each meeting will be made available to the Department in an MBox folder. 

DE&I Committee Meetings Minutes

Transparency Meetings

Transparency Meetings are designed to keep the Pharmacology community up to date on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The meetings also provide opportunities for community input and deeper engagement with the department’s DE&I work when appropriate.

Do you have any ideas for topics to discuss at Transparency Meetings? Share your ideas with the DE&I Team at pharmacolDEI@umich.edu

Feedback & Reporting

Pharmacology Reporting

As part of the department’s efforts to be a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable place, it is important to establish ways for all members of the department to provide feedback, seek guidance, and report discrimination and harassment. Any information you share is confidential and you won’t be penalized for speaking up.

If you would like to provide input, feedback, or ideas on how the Pharmacology Department is doing in terms of its DE&I efforts, please complete Pharmacology Department DE&I Feedback Form, which will be sent to the Pharmacology DE&I Committee. You may submit the form anonymously if you prefer. Please share with the DE&I Committee what is working, what is not working, and what can be done differently to advance DE&I efforts in the department and the University of Michigan. 


What is Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct?

Sexual and gender-based misconduct can take a variety of forms, including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual or gender-based harassment, sex and/or gender-based stalking, intimate partner violence, and sex and gender-based discrimination. The Policy also prohibits retaliation and violations of supportive measures related to allegations of sexual and gender-based misconduct.

Behavior that creates a hostile environment or impacts a person’s employment, academic standing or participation in university programs could be considered sexual or gender-based misconduct. You can always, for any reason, contact Department Chair, Dr. Lori Isom (lisom@umich.edu) for issues related to discrimination and harassment or for support and guidance. 

Education & Training

U-M provides sexual assault awareness and prevention education as well as bystander training to all ​incoming students and offers employees education and training to foster and maintain a welcoming, supportive, inclusive and diverse working and learning environment. For more information, please refer to the Education and Training page of U-M Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct website


You can find more information about the reporting process at U-M thorugh the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Umbrella Policy, whether you are a student, faculty, staff or third party. More information about reporting can be found on the U-M Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Reporting and Processing page

If you experience or are witness to, discrimination or harassment, you can report it to the University directly, through the Expect Respect Portal.

If you are not sure if the conflict or behavior you experience is considered discrimination or harassment, the University has many institutional resources to guide you through that process. A comprehensive list of University wide resources can be found here.


Do you know if you are a mandated reporter? Find out by taking this mandated reporter quiz

A mandated reporter is a Responsible Employee as defined under the Policy and Procedures on Student Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence. Responsible Employees who learn that students may have experienced sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, sexual or gender-based harassment, violation of interim measures or retaliation are required to share that information with the Office for Institutional Equity. 

If you are a mandated reporter, please let people know you are in one or more of the following ways: 

  • Post a sign on your office door in a visible location 
  • Include a disclaimer in your email signature 
    •  “I am a RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYEE, which means I am obligated to share, with the Office for Institutional Equity, any information disclosed to me about: Sexual Assault | Sexual/Gender-Based Harassment Intimate Partner Violence | Stalking Retaliation | Violation of Protective Measures”
  • Verbally alert an individual who may be seeking support that you are a mandated reporter before they confide in you so they have the power to make a decision given your obligation to file a report with the University

You can always direct an individual to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Assistance Center (SAPAC) Crisis Line  (734) 936-3333 to receive confidential support 24/7.

You can find more information on the University sexual misconduct policy here.

Personal Pronouns


A pronoun is a word that refers to either the people talking (like I or you) or someone or something that is being talked about (like she, them, and this). 

Personal pronouns (like he, hers, ze) specifically refer to people that you are talking about. Below are several of the more common personal pronouns and their usage. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list and one should feel free to use what is most comfortable to them.

  • Subjective Pronouns: She, He, They, Ze
  • Objective Pronouns: Her, Him, Them, Hir
  • Possessive Pronouns: Her/Hers, His, Their/Theirs, Hir, Hirs
  • Reflexive Pronouns: Herself, Himself, Themselves, Hirself

Learn more about personal pronouns here: https://spectrumcenter.umich.edu/article/designated-pronouns


Many times, a person's appearance and gender/gender expression and identity are not the same. This can lead to making assumptions about people that sends a potentially harmful message. Knowing and sharing personal pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show respect for a person's gender identity and expression.

When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or, often, all of the above). 

In addition, given Taubman’s international population, we don't always know how people prefer to be referred as based on their names. Using gender pronouns can help us teach and learn about the many names and appropriate pronouns from around the world.


It’s okay! Mistakes happen. 

If you use the wrong pronoun, acknowledge the mistake, correct it, and then move on. 

If you forget someone’s personal pronouns, follow the same protocol:  acknowledge the mistake, correct it, and move on.


As part of the University of Michigan’s commitment to fostering an environment of inclusiveness, the Office of the Provost created a process for students to designate their preferred personal pronouns with the University and have those pronouns reflected on class rosters.

One can see how to make this change to your pronouns within Wolverine Access by clicking here. Faculty and staff can also designate pronouns. 

Given the transition to remote learning, online conferencing platforms like Zoom and Bluejeans are our most common way to conduct class. Both platforms offer up opportunities to change your displayed name and can easily include the phonetic pronunciation of your name. Please follow this quick guide to learn how to change your display name temporarily or permanently in Zoom and BlueJeans.

Students are encouraged to speak with their professors and peers about how they would like to be addressed. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to speak with their supervisors and co-workers about their preferred personal pronouns.


As a way to guide people to use the personal pronouns you prefer and show solidarity for intersex, transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people, we invite you to add the statement below to your email signature under your name (please change pronouns to match your gender identity/expression):

"Pronouns: she/her/hers (Click here to learn more about pronouns)"  

Including personal pronouns in our signature can also signal that we want to learn and share with others how we/they want to be referred as, potentially sending a rippling effect to others to adopt the same practice.

Phonetic Names

Have you had to correct how people pronounce your name? Have you ever wondered how to pronounce someone’s name? Being able to pronounce someone’s name correctly is important in creating an inclusive environment. Given the uncertainty of in-person learning, it is now more important than ever to build connections with your peers and properly learn how to pronounce their names to build community even while physically distanced.


Student’s socio-emotional well-being and world view are impacted by the way instructors and peers pronounce their names. Mispronunciation of someone’s name can lead them to shy away from their culture and families. In some cases, people prefer to Americanize or not use their name at all to avoid having to constantly have to teach people how to pronounce their name. This can result in an environment with a lack of trust and communicates disrespect.

This op-ed article, titled “Names That Are Unfamiliar to You Aren’t ‘Hard,’ They're ‘Unpracticed’” offers excellent insight into what it can feel like for someone with an unfamiliar name in American society today.


Virtually Learning Environments  

Given the transition to remote learning, online conferencing platforms like Zoom and Bluejeans are our most common way to conduct class. Both platforms offer up opportunities to change your displayed name and can easily include the phonetic pronunciation of your name. Please follow this quick guide to learn how to change your display name.


Encourage your students to change their name to include their preferred pronunciation in virtual meetings. You can serve as a role model by also changing your name.


Make every effort to address students by their preferred name and follow the pronunciation they indicated. If you still make a mistake or are having trouble with the pronunciation, ask for help and be patient! We are all working hard to make everyone feel welcomed and included.


Contact Joana Dos Santos, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at joanads@umich.edu

You can also check out Pronounce Names website (which now offers an Android app) or Voice of America's pronunciation guide to become familiar with how to pronounce any name.

For help in pronouncing Chinese names, you can check out this quick guide on pinyinpronunciation, literally 'spell out the sound'.  It is a system for romanizing Chinese ideograms, used in mainland China for Mandarin Chinese. 


Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Under the leadership of Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) leads and supports university-wide initiatives focused on the recruitment of a diverse faculty, staff and student body, while fostering an inclusive and equitable university community. 

The Spectrum Center

The Spectrum Center at University of Michigan is a collaborative space in which all members of the University and local community are welcome. Through collaboration and partnership efforts, the Center supports students to thrive in a diverse society and globally. The Center works toward enhancing the campus climate and support services for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty at the University through education, advocacy, and community building. 

Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) provides free and confidential crisis intervention, advocacy, and support for survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual harassment who are University of Michigan students, faculty and staff. All services are free and confidential to the University of Michigan community and are provided by professional SAPAC staff members and include Crisis Intervention, Advocacy, and Support Groups.

Center for the Education of Women

The Center for the Education of Women provides academic, financial, and professional support through career and education counseling, funding, workshops, events, and a diverse, welcoming community to empower women to reach their full potential.

DEI @ Rackham Graduate School

The Rackham Graduate School partners at multiple levels with every school and college on campus to ensure the quality of graduate education, encourage innovation, and build a vibrant and diverse student community. Thus, their focus is on providing resources to graduate students from masters through PhD in any program at UM.

OGPS: The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies provides resources and support for current graduate students, postdocs, and postbacs in the biomedical sciences. Thus, OGPS is specific to those training in biomedical sciences at UM, whereas Rackham encompasses all graduate education at the University of Michigan.

OHEI: The Office for Health Equity and Inclusion

The Office for Health Equity and Inclusion develops mechanisms for inclusion, diversity and cultural sensitivity among faculty, students and staff at Michigan Medicine (UM Medical School and Hospital). OHEI also advances clinical care for under-served patient populations through research and education. Under the leadership of David J. Brown, MD, Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusion and Phyllis M. Blackman, MBA, Administrative Director, OHEI's goal is to transform health care and ensure health care equity. 

If you are in crisis, there is a counselor-on-duty at CAPS in the Tappan Auxiliary Building, 609 Tappan Street, during business hours. If this is an urgent after hours matter, please call CAPS at 734.764.8312 and select “0” to be connected with a crisis counselor. If it is an emergency, please call Psychiatric Emergency Services at 734.936.5900 or dial 911.